Once you find your go-to people, be their most amazing customer. What does that mean?
There’s a lot more to being a great customer than giving somebody your business and paying good money. You also give them positive word of mouth, business referrals, comfort, ease, and trust in dealings. And who knows? The person selling (or helping you with) something today could be your customer tomorrow, or your boss, your direct report, colleague, teacher, friend, or uncle-in-law.
Be Great to Work with
Because great customers have a lot of offer, they get a lot back. Great customers get all the best deals, the free samples, the speedy deliveries, the emergency rush jobs on a weekend or holiday. Why? The best customers are also great to work with. That doesn’t mean just being polite and familiar. It means that you:
- Go to the right person about the right things at the right time (hint: with plenty of advance notice).
- Go prepared and make good use of the other person’s time.
- Go vertical first and check for alignment, so you don’t have to come back later and say, “My boss said we have to make this change” or “My direct reports/my team says we have to make this change.”
- Tune in to your own ask: Put your asks in the form of a tight proposal.
- Answer the “no gate” questions on the way in:
Yes, it can be done; it’s possible.
Yes, it is allowed.
Yes, it should be done; it has good ROI.
- Make “yes” easy by setting out a simple plan: Here’s how I will help you help me.
- Always follow up and build the relationship: Send a supersonic thank you. Do an after-action review. And look around the corner so you can plan the next collaboration.
If you can do all of these things, your final building block for the upward spiral should come easily to you.